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Conference 2009: Making the most of the conference

"If you come to the conference with enthusiasm and willingness to turn strangers into friends, share ideas…to ask questions and answer some, you will have a much more fulfilling weekend than if you come expecting only to receive."
The Word Guild

Photo credit: Sharon O'Brien

Krysia P. Lear shows conference newbie Helena Aalto how to plan her conference experience.
Photo credit: Sharon O'Brien

"You only need to know one thing about conferences: The most interesting people will be found at the free food tables. The food tables are like the Piccadilly Circus of conferences. Stay there and anyone you could ever want to meet will drift by eventually. If something good happened at a session, you'll hear it."
Greg Ioannou.

"Above all, enjoy yourself by going to the social activities, such as the pre-conference dinner, the reception and the banquet! You may form lasting friendships as well as business connections."
Julia Cochrane

Podcast

Get Krysia P. Lear's tips on how to get the most out of your conference experience, as well as the inside scoop on EAC's 30th anniversary conference, MagNet and the Indexing Society of Canada's conference. Download the

.

The 30th anniversary conference took place from June 5 to 7 at the 89 Chestnut Conference Centre in downtown Toronto.

Conference news and announcements
Register
Making the most of the conference
Pre-conference workshops
Conference schedule
Conference schedule at a glance
Informal pre-conference dinner
Welcome reception
Conference banquet
Speakers and partners
Location, dates and accommodations
Sponsors
Volunteer opportunities

Download the conference program

QUESTIONS? Contact the conference team at conference@editors.ca.

Come Prepared

  • Practical: Bring comfortable clothes and shoes, a refillable water bottle, note-taking material and your business cards.
  • Goals: Use the conference as an opportunity to grow your business. Before you plan your schedule:
    • Review your business. Identify your strengths, challenges and opportunities. Note what's changed and what you want to change.
    • Identify goals for developing your skills, your business acumen and your comfort in building relationships (i.e., networking), etc.

Plan Your Activities Carefully

With your goals in mind, look over the conference schedule and presenters.

  • Note the seminars and networking opportunities that could help you reach goals. Prioritize them.
  • Make a note of anyone (presenter, a colleague or a client), you'd like to meet.
  • Identify your "must do" choices. Then schedule around them.

Choose Seminars for Growth

Make strategic choices.

  • If you're exploring editing, go to a variety of seminars to get an overview.
  • If you're exploring new markets, go to the seminars on editing in various sectors to learn their requirements and conventions and where to focus your efforts. This year, for example, you could go to workshops on editing textbooks or children's books, or museum and art gallery catalogues.
  • If you're working hard but not making money, try a seminar on business skills or landing better-paying contracts.
  • If you want to improve or assess your skills, look for workshops like those on indexing, copy editing and substantive editing.
  • Choose sessions for your level of experience and/or knowledge.

Network with a Purpose

A life and a business thrive on good relationships, and learning to develop them is worth the effort.

  • Identify what you want from talking with others. Is it discussing common problems or finding someone to collaborate with? To practise networking so you get comfortable with it? Or to leave the conference refreshed?
  • If you are a hesitant beginner, set a goal for a number of contacts each day.
  • Be ready to give as well as receive. Be ready to share ideas and tips and to give respectful feedback.
  • Introduce yourself to everyone. Don't depend on your name tag to do the work.
  • When you get cards, make notes on the back to jog your memory later.

Schedule Sanely

Give yourself a break.

  • Sometimes it's better to go for a walk than sit through another session.
  • If you're an introvert, nurture your inner introvert.

Get the Best Out of Sessions

To avoid going into a passive state in a full room, try this.

  • Be an active listener.
  • Take notes. Highlight your questions. Star great ideas.
  • Be open. Sometimes we get into a session that is an opportunity in disguise. Ed Bernacki recommends that if you
    • hear challenging ideas you want to disagree with, you listen as if everything has value—likely, it will later on.
    • end up in a session on a familiar topic, you "listen for things that confirm your experiences and build confidence"—leaving a session knowing that you are in the same league as colleagues you respect is a power boost. 

Use It or Lose It

Don't let ideas and contacts get lost. Follow up with yourself.

  • Schedule time to follow up on what you learned and on your contacts, after the conference.
  • Type up your notes. You're more likely to use them.
  • Review notes, and implement what you learned.
  • Set goals and find an accountability partner. Agree to check with each other on a specified date how you are meeting your goals.

Sources: Krysia Lear's hard-won experience; Seven Rules for Designing More Innovative Conferences by Ed Bernacki of the Idea Factory; "Tips for Making the Most of the Conference" by The Word Guild